Warren County teacher builds outdoor sinks to battle coronavirus

Kings Schools teacher Rachel Manley and her father built a series of hand washing stations next to the playground at South Lebanon Elementary to better combat the spread of the coronavirus. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)
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Kings Schools teacher Rachel Manley and her father built a series of hand washing stations next to the playground at South Lebanon Elementary to better combat the spread of the coronavirus. (Provided Photo\Journal-News)

A Kings Schools teacher hand-washing stations next to the playground as the latest example of schools working to help area students sanitize throughout the day.

South Lebanon School teacher Rachel Manley – with the help of her father Rick – created a row of small sinks with running water so students have easy access to cleaning their hands.

It’s not just a safety feature but also a time-saving convenience, said Manley, a 3rd grade teacher who in her previous career was a research engineer for Procter & Gamble.

“When I was thinking through the logistics of my schedule with some of my coworkers, I could not figure out how we were going to get almost 60 kids back into the school from recess, wash their hands, and up to the cafeteria for lunch in just 15 minutes with only one sink in our classrooms,” she said.

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“We simply didn’t have enough time. That was the brainstorming behind my hand washing station. With a little ingenuity I have taken a 15-minute task down to just a few minutes.”

Her father, who is a former civil engineer for Procter & Gamble, helped.

“I presented the problem to my dad … and we went to work designing and experimenting designs in his driveway. We found some fence posts in his garage and connected PVC pipe using zip ties. Through trial and error, we ended up with a design that puts out just the right amount of water and drains so the kids won’t get wet. We simply turn on the main water source and use a valve to regulate the water flow to the sinks.

“Teachers simply go down the line and squirt soap on student’s hands and we can get 10 students washing their hands at the same time while maintaining physical distance,” she said.

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The self-funded project is just one of many innovations and additions made recently in Warren and Butler County schools to better prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Schools throughout the region have installed plexiglass barriers, hung shower curtains in classrooms and installed numerous hand disinfectant stations in schools to better control any possible spread of the virus.

Dawn Gould, spokeswoman for the school system, said “Mrs. Manley and her dad, Rick really impressed all of us by their innovative hand washing station.”

“This project makes it possible for all of the students at South Lebanon Elementary to have the opportunity to use the sinks to wash their hands after recess. We are proud of Mrs. Manley and her dad for putting student safety first and being difference makers in helping to stop the spread of germs,” said Gould.

Parents of South Lebanon were impressed enough to begin donations of hand soap and paper towels.

Manley said “the kids have been so excited this week to see the new hand washing station on the playground. It definitely makes COVID safety more fun and having outdoor sinks is so cool.”